My Big Job for the Day: Winter Mulching the Roses

WHEN THE GROUND FREEZES SOLIDLY IN DECEMBER, I know it’s time to mulch my roses. Mulching keeps their roots cold and unstimulated, should a freakish warm spell occur between bouts of frigid weather. Furthermore, this insulating blanket ultimately improves the soil: (click photos to enlarge)

As you can see from the photo up top, when I mulch, I do a thorough job of it. The individual plants receive an 18- 24-inch mounding of shredded leaves, while the areas between them receive 6- 10-inches of covering (see photo below). This in-between covering does wonders to mitigate the need for weeding during the summer months.

Why do I use shredded leaves for mulch? Well, first because they are entirely free; and next, because they produce the very finest top-soil in the world — leaf mold. Leaf mold is pure humus. I can tell you that after 5 or 6 years of winter-mulching with leaves, my rose beds are chock full of worms and nutrients, the beds are well-aerated and water-retentive, and consequently a pure joy to work in. In fact, it’s hard to believe that my rose garden was once an asphalt parking lot.

Winter-mulching was my big job for today. What’s happening in your garden?

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From Parking Lot to Paradise
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Leaves, Leaves, Beautiful Leaves!
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  1. Andrew Thompson says:

    Kevin, I follow the same routine as you. It's the lack of mulch that causes so many roses (and maybe other perennials too) to die over winter.

  2. What's happening in my garden? I haven't a clue! It's covered with a foot of snow!!!

  3. Adele – yes, I heard that all gardens in the midwest have disappeared! No snow here (yet) but 2 inches of rain falling today.

  4. If that was a parking lot before you turned it into a rose garden, then leaves must be the panacea for all garden ills! It really looks beautiful.

  5. Barry – Welcome to A Garden for the House. Yes, I believe leaves ARE the panacea for poor soil!

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